The news of Shao Yuan’s visit on the Eternal Sacred Land’s behalf conflicted all the hearts within House Yan. A sense of impending judgment filled the air.
Many remembered their neglect of the young genius during his stay. Now, the young man was completely out of their league. He was received with all due pomp and ostentation. After all, he could very well decide their continued survival.
Jiang Chen had thought about a lot before coming to House Yan. He arrived at his current decision after some serious consideration. He needed to maintain a perfectly upright posture before House Yan, to inject as much arrogance as possible.
Naturally, the Yan patriarch and several dozens of the house’s executives stood outside House Yan’s estate to receive him personally, giving him the grandest welcome possible.
Jiang Chen and the sacred land’s men made a grand, triumphant return to his former place of stay. He didn’t particularly enjoy the feeling though. That wasn’t why he was here.
“House Yan is honored by your illustrious visit, Sir Shao Yuan.”
“Our humblest greetings, Sir Shao Yuan!”
There was no doubt about House Yan’s sincerity. Fear and unease was written over everyone’s faces.
There were plenty of people higher level than Jiang Chen in House Yan, but all of the experts – the patriarch included – were as docile as a flock of lambs. They didn’t even dare twitch their eyebrows, lest he mistake the act for hostility.
“Who are you calling Sir Shao Yuan? The young sir’s name is Jiang Chen. Shao Yuan was merely his pseudonym!” a subordinate from the sacred land shouted with gusto.
Clearly, Jiang Chen’s followers were pleased to be here themselves. The young man’s display of force and ability had made him the idol of many of the sacred land’s young men and women. His followers today felt privileged just for being here.
Every member of House Yan within hearing range felt their heads buzz with consternation.
So, it really is him!
Elder Xi especially felt his world spin. He wanted to pass out on the ground. The details of his trip to Sacred Peafowl Mountain rose to the top of his mind.
Jiang Chen swept his gaze dispassionately across the crowd. The corner of his mouth curled with a smile when he saw Yan Wanxi behind the patriarch.
“My, my, my. Elder Xi, our reunion is rather sooner than I expected. You’ve certainly climbed up quickly. You’ve replaced Yan Wanjun’s position as venerated elder, have you?”
Yan Wanxi was embarrassed to no end. His face froze with indecision, unsure whether to laugh or cry.
“At our last meeting in the human domain, your… dominance gave me a very deep impression.” Jiang Chen’s tone was cool, but the mockery in it was plainly audible to all. “If I remember correctly, you said something like House Yan was the heaven to my earth. I was as low as an ant to you, is that correct?”
Yan Wanxi had nothing to say. History was written by the victors. His attitude had been decidedly horrible during his business visit to the human domain because he hadn’t cared at all about anyone who lived there.
“Do you remember what I said to you back then? I said that one day, you would pay for your ignorance and conceit.
“I came to Myriad Abyss Island after all these years not to deliver a face-slapping, but to tell you that Huang’er belongs to me. You took her away, but I can take her back from you.
“Whether you, Xiahou Zong, or anyone else, none of you will wrest her from me. Absolutely no one!”
Yan Wanxi was ashen. In addition to the house’s orders, he had gone to personally appease House Xiahou as well.
The entirety of House Yan remained silent. Now that House Xiahou was ruined, House Yan had gained nothing from its thoroughly shameful conduct throughout the process.
The Yan patriarch sighed. “Sir Jiang Chen, we have been foolish in out past dealings. Yan Wanxi wasn’t the only one who was wrong about Huang’er. As the patriarch, I bear a great part of the responsibility as well.”
“Enough. As long as Huang’er doesn’t mind, I’m willing to allow bygones to be bygones. However, I came to verify House Yan’s sincerity,” Jiang Chen replied evenly.
The Yan patriarch hastened to reply. “After all House Yan has been through, we have a much more profound understanding of the necessity in following in the sacred land’s footsteps. We pledge eternal loyalty to the sacred land forevermore, and to lend our strength to the nation whenever possible.”
Jiang Chen waved a hand dismissively. “I’m not interested in that.
“I have only two things to ask you. First, what do you plan on doing with Huang’er’s parents? Second, who was the one responsible for reducing Elder Shun to his current state? Give him up. I’d like to hear what Elder Shun wants with him.”
The Yan patriarch had almost forgotten about the man named. Only after Jiang Chen mentioned him did he remember that Elder Shun had been the one in charge of taking care of Huang’er.
“Quickly, bring Elder Shun here.”
Everyone came to the sudden realization that Elder Shun had likely been on good terms with Jiang Chen. Several elders offered themselves up for the task. “I will, sir!”
The proposition to bring someone Jiang Chen was well acquainted was met with remarkable enthusiasm.
Elder Shun was brought before the youth before long.
The old man was dressed in robes of blue hemp cloth, and his figure looked skinny and lean in it. He seemed used to despondence and sorrow, though right now he was more confused than anything. Why had several elders suddenly come to fetch him with such eagerness? Their uncharacteristic courtesy was almost off-putting.
Having lost the majority of his cultivation, the elder had been looked down upon ever since his return. Barely anyone spoke to him at all. He was used to a solitary existence, and cared little for House Yan’s affairs.
However, he had worried about Huang’er recently. News from her had suddenly stopped, for whatever reason. He wasn’t used to so much unexpected attention.
“Long time no see, Elder Shun. How’ve you been these past years?” Jiang Chen revealed his true guise.
Elder Shun’s pupils dilated. “Jiang Chen!”
Huang’er had mentioned to him that Shao Yuan and Jiang Chen were the same before this.
“Good kid, good kid. You’re finally here!” A smile of joy crept over the elder’s face.
“You’ve endured a lot of hardship the last few years, Elder Shun.” Jiang Chen knew that the elder had sacrificed a great deal for Huang’er’s sake.
Elder Shun swatted at the air. “As long as Huang’er’s alright, what’s wrong with an old man like me toughing some things out? Speaking of Huang’er, where is she? Why didn’t she come today?”
“She’s in a safer place right now. I sent her off before the start of the rebellion.”
“Very good! A lover as dedicated as you is hard to come by. Huang’er was fortunate to have met you, Jiang Chen. You and her are a couple blessed by heaven!” Elder Shun was in a very good mood.
“Elder Shun, the house has let you down in the past. From today, your title of elder will be restored. What the house owes you will be repaid many times over. As the patriarch, I would like to personally apologize to you as well.” It was rare to see the Yan patriarch prostrate himself so.
Elder Shun was unfazed. “Never mind that. After so many years of not being tied down, I’m not that interested in house matters anymore. Give the title to the young ones. I’d simply like my freedom to be restored to me, that I might spend my days in leisure!”
The patriarch was somewhat helpless before the elder’s perceived tone. “Elder Shun, the house really is at fault. Please don’t be so fixated on what happened in the past.”
“Patriarch, I’ve long since let go of the past. Technically, I did break the house’s rules. But enough about those burdensome things. I don’t particularly hate anyone from back then, nor do I want an elder’s responsibilities once more.” Having experienced so much, Elder Shun really didn’t want to be an elder again.
“Alright. As long as you’re with the house, you will receive treatment equal to an elder’s. There’s no need to involve yourself in the house’s affairs. The house owes you this much, at least.”
Elder Shun was clever enough to know why the patriarch was so obliging. He smiled carelessly, but didn’t affirm the statement.
“Do you remember the one who crippled your cultivation, Elder Shun?” Jiang Chen asked.
The old man shook his head. “The past is in the past. I don’t care much for remembering it.”
He was much more carefree than expected. It seemed that he really didn’t wish to pursue any grudges. Some of the more stubborn characters of the house also breathed sighs of relief at this. If the elder had really wanted to take things to the bitter end, those who’d advocated punishing him before would come in for their share of pain.
“Elder Shun is magnanimous enough not to seek restitution, but the other question remains. What answer do you have for me, Patriarch Yan?” Jiang Chen was speaking of Huang’er’s parents.
“That, ah,” the patriarch added hastily, “you can leave it up to us. We’ll send people into the Boundless Prison within three months. We will do everything in our power to rescue Huang’er’s parents. House Yan was responsible for this crime, and House Yan will make reparations for it.”
Jiang Chen harrumphed. “Huang’er is willing to forgive everyone else, but she will never relent about this. If you can’t accomplish what you’ve promised, I will channel her outrage upon you. Consider the matter yourself!”
He had heard of the Boundless Prison as an exceptionally dangerous place.
Since House Yan was responsible for sticking Huang’er’s parents in, it should also be responsible for their deliverance. In light of recent events, its members wouldn’t dare slack off.
Right now, the house was like a miscreant child who feared being punished. Everyone within would jump at the attempt to earn clemency.
“Don’t worry, Sir Jiang Chen,” the Yan patriarch guaranteed promptly. “House Yan will treat this as its top priority for the immediate future.”
Jiang Chen snickered. “You should pray for your own fortune. You better hope that Huang’er’s parents are alright within the Boundless Prison. If something’s happened to them… I can’t imagine what I will do, myself.”
Given the objective of hammering the house somewhat, he wasn’t going to show them any cordiality. He needed to keep up the pressure.